European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi stated in Bled on Sept. 1 that the EU cannot allow itself to let the Western Balkans down and that the time for waiting has passed.
“Enlargement is a process, more so administrative than political, and it has phases. We should be discussing political, economic, social and security integration. These are topics relevant to the Western Balkans. We have a fresh example: Afghanistan. Afghanistan is far away but the Western Balkans are right here. Our responsibility toward the Balkans is greater than toward Afghanistan. We cannot allow ourselves to let the Western Balkans down,” Varhelyi told the Future of Europe panel at the 16th Bled Strategic Forum.
He added that the EU should seek to motivate Western Balkan countries but that the countries themselves should be self-motivated as well.
“We must resolutely maintain this motivation and convince [them] that the offer we put on the table is sincere. This can speed things up. Afghanistan has taught us that we do not have time to lose,” Varhelyi added.